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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_dcau_1168.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Earth's mightiest heroes. No, not [[WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes those mightiest heroes]].]]
See also:
+ DCComicsAnimated
+ WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies

Short for '''DC Animated Universe''', a group of animated series based on Creator/DCComics characters and, unlike [[DCComicsAnimated other DC adaptations]], all sharing the same continuity.

''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' began first, intended as something of a tie-in with ''Film/BatmanReturns'' but with its own distinct canon and take on the mythos and airing on the Fox Kids network. The high quality animation, scripting and voice work received near instant praise, helping to redefine Batman to the general public as neither the campy Creator/AdamWest ''Series/{{Batman}}'' or the ultra dark Creator/MichaelKeaton ''Film/{{Batman}}'', but as someone who often has to protect his RoguesGallery from themselves. The specific character design is referred to as TimmStyle, and has been very influential with elements based on it seen in many western animation action shows. After 85 episodes over 3 seasons ([[SixtyFiveEpisodeCartoon 65 episodes in the first season]] alone, generally unheard of) the show ended in 1995. Soon afterward, the same creators went on to make ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' for the Kids WB network, featuring a similar but more streamlined art style. When the license to BTAS on Fox Kids expired, they went on to make a SequelSeries called ''The New Batman Adventures'', which in practice was more of a {{revival}} and featured a massive art redesign to match up with STAS.

The inevitable crossover occurred with ''World's Finest'', which teamed Batman and Superman against the Joker and ComicBook/LexLuthor and firmly placed them in a SharedUniverse. After several more crossovers, both shows ended about the same time in 1999, when ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' came on to take their place. While initially diversive for its premise as a teenage Batman in the future mentored by an elderly Bruce Wayne, ''Beyond'' was able to continue the legacy of the prior shows and had many standout moments of its own. In fact, an episode featuring a future version of the ''ComicBook/JusticeLeague'' proved popular enough that Cartoon Network made an order for the production to create ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' in 2001. For this new show Justice League introduces what can be considered a third TimmStyle revamp, an attempt to include more individuality between characters that was lost with the streamlined design. With two seasons showcasing seven core members of the league, the production staff made a massive retool for the following season to include dozens of characters never before seen in the DCAU, rebranding itself ''Justice League Unlimited''. After another couple of seasons, reaching the absolute height of ambition to showcase the entire DC Comics roster, the DCAU officially ended in 2006.

There are two other shows that take place in the same universe but are considered more of on the fringe than being a core series. The first is ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock'', based on the comics character ''ComicBook/{{Static}}'' and initially taking place in its own continuity (there is a reference to Superman as a fictional character in an early episode) but eventually having modern day Batman, modern day Justice League and Batman Beyond via TimeTravel appearances, and he appears in ''Justice League Unlimited'' in another time travel story. The second is ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject'', which was a SpinOff inspired by [[PoorlyDisguisedPilot a standalone episode]] of ''Beyond'' about a shapeshifting android assassin gaining a conscience and his struggles to avoid his handlers who want to reprogram him, unique in that it features entirely original characters and stories, excepting a later ''Batman Beyond'' crossover. Neither show was as successful as the primary shows, but had its fans.

[[AC:It is generally accepted that the DCAU includes:]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' / ''The Adventures of Batman and Robin'' / ''The New Batman Adventures'' (1992-1999)
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'' (1993)
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanAndMisterFreezeSubZero'' (1998)
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMysteryOfTheBatwoman'' (2003)
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' / ''The New Superman Adventures'' (1996-2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' (1999-2001)
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'' (2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock'' (2000-2004) [[note]]Via {{retcon}} (Superman was a fictional character in early episodes).[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject'' (2001-2002) [[note]][[SpinOff Spin-off]] from ''Batman Beyond''.[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' / ''Justice League Unlimited'' (2001-2006)

[[AC:Webseries based on DCAU cartoons:]]
* ''WebAnimation/GothamGirls'' (2000-2002) [[note]]''The New Batman Adventures'' [[SpinOff spin-off]].[[/note]]
* ''WebAnimation/LoboWebseries'' (2000) [[note]]The only R-rated cartoon in the DCAU.[[/note]]

[[AC:Comic Books set in the DCAU include:]]
* ''Adventures in the DC Universe'' [[note]]Although this one ended up being almost wholly {{retcon}}ned.[[/note]]
* ''ComicBook/BatmanBeyond'' [[note]]Only the ones in the Timm art style; the later ones are a mix between DCAU continuity and mainstream DC Comics continuity.[[/note]]
* ''ComicBook/TheBatmanAdventures''
* ''ComicBook/TheSupermanAdventures''
* ''Justice League Adventures''
* ''Justice League Beyond''
* ''Justice League Unlimited''

[[AC:Video Games based on the DCAU:]]
* ''Batman: The Animated Series''
* ''The Adventures of Batman and Robin''
* ''VideoGame/{{Superman 64}}''
* ''Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker''
* ''Batman: Chaos in Gotham''
* ''Batman: Gotham City Racer''
* ''VideoGame/BatmanVengeance''
* ''Superman: Shadows of Apokolips''
* ''Justice League: Injustice for All''
* ''Superman: Countdown to Apokolips''
* ''VideoGame/BatmanRiseOfSinTzu''
* ''Justice League: Chronicles''

The DCAU is sometimes referred to as the "Timmverse" (after character designer Creator/BruceTimm) or the "Diniverse" (after writer Creator/PaulDini). Some purists argue that "Timmverse" is more appropriate, as Bruce Timm was a more consistent creative force in the various shows than Paul Dini, who left before the end of it. Rather more to the point, Dini is a writer, not a character designer. Timm, who ''is'' a character designer, is the one responsible for the "standard DCAU art style". On the other hand, the writing of the DCAU is as notable as the art, plus the name is catchier (having [[RuleOfThree three syllables]] and all). On the ''other'' hand, Paul Dini was just the foremost of several writers and worked for Alan Burnett, who thus technically had more to do with the managing of the DCAU than Dini did. The debate continues.

The DCAU ended production with the final episode of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited''. However, its influence continues to this day both in Comics and WesternAnimation, and due to the distinct art style of the 'verse (aka TimmStyle) being applied to later animated adaptations of Franchise/TheDCU, other properties are frequently and incorrectly cited as part of the DCAU. The DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies is something of a SpiritualSuccessor, featuring many of the same production staff with a similar design aesthetic and story tone, but are mostly in their own self-contained universes.

!![[TropeNamers Tropes named]] or made by the DCAU:
* BatmanColdOpen
* BatmanInMyBasement
* BurgerFool
* ClockKing
* GirlsNightOutEpisode
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold
* HeroesUnlimited
* MadLove
* TimmStyle
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech

!!Tropes present in the DCAU shows:

* AdaptationDistillation: All DCAU shows took the best parts of all Creator/DCComics elements and modernized them.
* ArtEvolution: The universe as a whole steadily improved in animation with each new show.
* ArtShift: Was done with ''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries The New Batman Adventures]]'' in order to tie it in with ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'', as well as make it easier to keep characters [[OffModel On Model]].
* BookEnds:
** The first superhero ever seen in the DCAU was Batman. The last hero in the final CurtainCall at the end of ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' is Batman.
** The final scene in the ''Justice League Unlimited'' episode "Epiologue" mirrored the first shot of the very first ''Batman: The Animated Series'' episode, with the episode being written before the series was renewed for its third & final season. Whilst it didn't end up book ending the DCAU (at least, not by ''our'' chronology), it did book end the first shot of ''BTAS'' with the final shot of the future Batman.
* ContinuitySnarl: The tie-in comics are canon...at least until an actual episode of one of the series contradicts them. This has resulted in discrepancies in characterization and origin for several characters, including Superman, Catman, and Huntress.
* FamilyFriendlyFirearms: Averted in most cases, making the DCAU cartoons unique among TV shows of the '90s era. Although it's pretty rare for anyone ([[ShootingSuperman other than Superman]]) to actually get shot, as most bad guys who use guns seem to have graduated from the ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: [[http://dcanimated.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_sexual_innuendos_and_double_entendres_in_the_DCAU Well...]]
* GoshDangItToHeck: Compiled [[http://dcanimated.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_expletives_in_the_DCAU here]] (as well as [[CurseCutShort Curses Cut Short]]). The only one that doesn't count is the Lobo series because it is very R-rated.
* GrowingWithTheAudience: Especially ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited''.
* {{Leitmotif}}: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6x9YTh173o A constant element of the universe's musical scores]] - WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries famously had motifs for every major character, including full themes for every member of his rogues gallery. Superman had them less often, but most villains and heroes still had their own themes. The most famous themes from both of these shows remained with the characters for the entirety of the DCAU, and this practice continued on to Justice League and Unlimited, which gave several of the most important heroes themes.
* MotifMerger: In the animated DCAU crossover movie "World's Finest", the Bat-Signal (Batman's emblem) is broadcast onto the globe on top of the Daily Planet Building (Superman's).
* NotHisSled: [[spoiler:Hawkgirl is a spy and a soldier, not a space cop.]] Likewise, Bane and Doomsday don't do [[HeroicRROD what they're best]] [[HeroKiller known for]].
* {{Ruritania}}: Kaznia, a Balkan nation that is referred to multiple times in several DCAU shows.
* StoryArc: ''Superman TAS'' and ''Justice League (Unlimited)'' were very arc-based in structure.
* StuffBlowingUp: The vast majority of episodes set within the DCAU end with the villain's [[CollapsingLair hideout exploding]], for reasons ranging from self-destruct devices to joy buzzers falling into loose wiring.
* TimmStyle: TropeNamer, [[TropeMaker Maker]], and [[TropeCodifier Codifier]].